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5 Ways Brokers Can Find Freight Carriers

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Freight brokers are challenged with finding and retaining reliable carriers. To effectively manage your loads and maximize your earnings, it’s crucial to have trustworthy carriers. But as the availability of carriers in the market fluctuates, it’s imperative to have a proactive plan in place to source carriers and maintain trusted relationships you can count on.

Here’s what you need to know to find the right freight carriers to take on more hauls and scale your business.

Why you need to find more freight carriers

You may have a short list of reliable freight carriers you trust, but what happens when you have more available loads than your current network can handle?

To stay competitive, you need to have an actionable plan to grow and constantly evolve your freight carrier network with the logistics market continuing to see major highs and lows from the effects of the pandemic, economic instability translates into abrupt changes in the number of freight carriers available and trucks on the road.

Successful freight brokers expect the ebbs and flows and can pivot quickly due to strong communication foundations and dependable tools in place.

How to find freight carriers

Fortunately, freight brokers have multiple options to find new freight carriers. Each option has advantages and disadvantages based on your company’s needs and objectives. Leveraging multiple tactics simultaneously increases your odds of success.

1. Broker load boards

Load boards are among the best tools for new freight carrier sourcing. You can find freight carriers quickly, so you can move shipper freight.

Load boards are an excellent place to cultivate long-term relationships with freight carriers. Build value into every negotiation with a new carrier by offering fair rates and terms, as well as accurate load information, and always let them know that you’re open to working together again.

Using a load board on its own is rarely sufficient since some freight carriers may use load boards only occasionally to fill in unexpected gaps and may not be interested in a long-term relationship with a freight broker.

Load boards let you set up automated rules to find freight carriers. You can manage risk assessment with Carrier Onboarding and Monitoring to get notifications if a carrier on your list changes authority status or receives a negative inspection report.

2. Search freight carrier directories

A freight carrier directory lets you search for trustworthy and experienced carriers. Unlike a load board, which is primarily designed to move freight quickly, a carrier directory is a place to look for freight carriers in anticipation of your future needs. Once you find potential matches, you can reach out to those carriers to see if they’re actively seeking new freight broker partnerships.

A carrier directory database lets you narrow your search by equipment type, location, active certificates of insurance, commodities, and DOT and FMCSA information. Carrier information is continuously updated as freight carriers enter and exit the market.

3. Search FMCSA data

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains a searchable database of active carriers. However, sourcing freight carriers this way can be a needle-in-a-haystack situation. The database provides limited details, making it challenging to determine if a particular carrier meets the criteria you’re looking for. Using the FMCSA in conjunction with other tools is a good idea to find the right freight carrier.

5. Build a referral network

Referral networks, while not always a predictable revenue stream, are helpful. If you like and trust the carriers and shippers you work with and have a good rapport, they can likely help you connect to others in the business.

Being transparent and ethical in your dealings improves your reputation and makes it highly likely that your connections will say yes if you ask them for referrals. This expands your freight carrier network and broadens your market presence.

Important tips to find freight carriers

Brokers are only as strong as their network. Do your homework on every freight carrier to make sure you are partnering with someone trustworthy and dependable.

Here are key ways to find and attract carriers that will accelerate your business.

Focus on value over price

Everyone wants to get a good deal. But focusing solely on price is generally a race to the bottom. Instead, prioritize value for you and the freight carrier.

There are three main criteria to vet a carrier before signing a contract:

  • Carrier performance ratings: These may include communication, performance records, freight shipment delivery and pickup history, efficiency, billing accuracy, and damage-free cargo delivery reports.
    Truckstop’s Broker Load Board lets you choose carriers based on various performance metrics, including compliments, complaints, and overall ratings.
  • TIA Watchdog reports: The Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) maintains a watchdog service where members can file a report on any problems they may have experienced. Carriers or companies in question can respond to the complaint, ensuring fairness and balance.
  • Carrier Onboarding and Monitoring: To properly onboard a carrier, you need to verify they are qualified to take the haul to protect yourself and the cargo. It’s important to continuously monitor any changes to insurance, safety ratings, or authorizations as well.

Truckstop’s Carrier Onboarding and Monitoring solutions are a great way to keep an eye on current carriers and new ones you’re considering. You can even set up notifications to alert you if anything changes.

Understand carrier preferences

Every carrier has specific requirements and preferences for the hauls they take. These may include geography, lanes, or equipment type.

Quickly narrow your options to carriers that operate the equipment you need in the lanes you’re looking for and take the load types you need to move to improve the qualification process.

Confirm freight carrier identity

Don’t be afraid to ask potential carriers for references and be sure to follow up. This allows you to verify the freight carrier is reputable and helps you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

Be sure to inspect email addresses, confirm phone numbers, and verify physical addresses that could be an indicator of scammers.

Offer competitive and transparent rates

Transparency with freight carriers goes a long way in building rapport and trust. Offer competitive and fair data-backed rates. Outline mileage rate changes, the fuel surcharge, shipping costs, and a detailed bill of lading. This also helps avoid unexpected disputes later and clarifies expectations, fees, and benefits.

Make it easy to book loads.

Don’t make your favorite carriers jump through a bunch of hoops to book your loads. Use technology, like a load board, to let carriers find truck loads fast. For good, reliable carriers, make them your first call for the next load and expedite the process.

Find quality carriers today

Truckstop connects carriers, shippers, and brokers via a complete technological solution that includes freight matching, planning and tracking tools, transportation management systems (TMS), real-time rate analysis, and innovative payment solutions. Find the right carriers for your business with Truckstop Load Board for Brokers.

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